Whether you dream of exotic travel, carefree hours with grandchildren, or just a chance to put your feet up for once, retirement fantasies are something many Americans enjoy.
It helps, though, if you can afford to retire. And new research suggests that student debt, of all things, may be the latest challenge facing people saving for their so-called golden years.
The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has examined what would happen if all workers today had the same levels and incidence of student indebtedness as recent college graduates.
The result: The share of people at risk of not having enough money for a secure retirement would rise from 51.6 percent, which the center called "already alarming," to 56.2 percent. That may not sound like much, but with more than 150 million Americans in the civilian labor force, such a shift could affect millions of people.
Put another way, if working Americans of all ages had the same student debt exposure as recent college graduates, "the impact would be similar to that of increasing the normal Social Security retirement age from 65 to 67," said Anthony Webb, a senior research economist at the Boston College center.